The deputies of the National Assembly receive an additional amount of 250 thousand AMD every month along with the salary which is intended to cover the current expenses incurred during the implementation of the deputy activity. The mentioned amount is not subject to taxation.
The process is regulated by the amendment made to the Law on Remuneration of Public Officials on July 15, 2021.
Before and after the law came into force, it became a subject of heated discussions and criticism, and the deputies of the “Armenia” faction announced that they would not spend the money and would apply to the Constitutional Court to challenge the constitutionality of the law.
Months after the adoption of the law, Fact Investigation Platform addressed a written inquiry to the NA deputies, asking them to provide information on what purposes they had spent the allocated money for during the last three months, what activities they had carried out during which there was a need to use the allocated 250,000 AMD.
However, out of 106 deputies of the Parliament, only 8 answered our inquiry.
6 deputies from the parliamentary majority of the “Civil Contract” faction answered our inquiry.
MP Sergey Bagratyan mentioned in response to the inquiry that in March 2022 he visited three regions and eight settlements, in April visited three regions and seven settlements, and in May – 3 regions, 8 settlements. For more detailed information on the regions, settlements, purpose of the visit, the expenses incurred during Bagratyan’s visit click here.
During the last three months, MP Zaruhi Batoyan received 750,000 drams for her parliamentary activities, of which 470,000 drams were allocated for transportation expenses, paying for the services of a car equipped with a ramp and a driver. According to the response to the inquiry, the deputy participated in working meetings, discussions and events. She had one visit to the region․ She visited Kotayk region, participated in the inter-agency final discussion on the RA draft law on Voluntary Activity and Voluntary Work.
MPs Vladimir Vardanyan and Alkhas Ghazaryan responded to our inquiry with general formulations, quoting the NA Rules of Procedure. You can see Vardanyan’s response by clicking here and Ghazaryan’s by clicking here.
In response to the inquiry, Khachatur Sukiasyan noted that the sum provided to him every month since September intended to cover the expenses incurred during his parliamentary activity is transferred to the Soldiers’ Insurance Fund.
According to the answer to the inquiry, Vahe Ghalumyan directed the amount of compensation allocated to him to the expenses related to the deputy activity. Ghalumyan spent the money on visits to the regions, travel expenses, accommodation, daily allowances, meetings and other purposes. Vahe Ghalumyan regularly visits Noyemberyan, Berd, Ijevan, Dilijan communities of Tavush region, visited Akhtala, Shnogh, Odzun communities of Lori region, various settements in Gegharkunik, Ararat and Kotayk regions. An outgoing session of the commission was held in Shirak region to study the existing issues in the spheres reserved for the activity of the commission.
As mentioned, only 6 out of 71 deputies of the “Civil Contract” faction answered the inquiry, that is, only 8.45% of the faction.
Moreover, the two of them, in essence, did not answer the questions, did not specify what parliamentary activities they carried out, how much money they spent during that activity, thus not being actually accountable to the public.
We received two responses to the inquiry from the “Armenia” faction, moreover, one of them simply informed that a complete answer would be sent on behalf of the faction.
The complete answer sent on behalf of the faction, however, is again general, it is not possible to assess the activity of the deputies individually. The answer states that the deputies visited all the regions of the Republic of Armenia, different administrative districts of Yerevan, met with hundreds of citizens, etc. As for the funds provided for the parliamentary activities, the faction notes that the deputies directed the money to provide accommodation during the regional visits, to the purchase of fuel and other current expenses.
As mentioned above, the faction previously reported that they did not spend the funds provided for parliamentary activities, they applied to the Constitutional Court to challenge the constitutionality of the law. However, now it is generally clear from their response that the 250 thousand AMD provided for the activity are already used during the parliamentary activity.
No deputy from the “I have honor” faction responded to the inquiry
None of the deputies of the smallest of the three parliamentary factions, the “I have honor” bloc, answered our inquiry.
Out of 106 deputies of the three NA factions, 8 deputies responded to our inquiry, one of whom simply informed that we would receive a joint answer.
That is, 7 deputies responded to the inquiry which makes 6.6% of the total number of deputies of the Parliament.
Update: Deputies who responded to the inquiry after the publication of the article
MP Hovik Aghazaryan responded the inquiry only today, on June 22, the day after the publication of the article. According to the response to the inquiry, Aghazaryan visited three regions in the last quarter. He visited Ararat region 6 times, Armavir region 5 times and Kotayk region 1 time. With the money provided for the activities of the deputy, he covered travel expenses, provided material assistance to the residents of different communities.